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Rob Rock

Interview with Rob Rock from Rob Rock
by Grigoris Chronis at 31 May 2005, 7:07 PM

One of all my all-time favorite singers, Rob Rock has just released his third solo effort. Holy Hell! Don't know 'bout you, but all I could say after the first listening session was Holy shit! An amazing release from a charismatic artist with so much to say! Welcome Rob!

Rob, hello from Greece and Metal-Temple.com Magazine! It's great to see you back with a new album, Holy Hell, that - I have to confess - is at least brilliant!

Well, thank you very much! The album is getting the strongest feedback yet for a new album so I'm very happy about that.

Let's start with the studio lineup: is Bobby (Jarzombek) behind the drum kit? The other musicians? What about the tour lineup? The same? Different?

Yes, Bobby did an incredible job on the drums! We started with Roy (Z) and myself writing the songs and then Bobby came in and recorded the drums. From there we started doing overdubs mainly with Roy and then added other players and performances as we went along.

After the album was finished, I put together a band from Sweden, which includes Carljohan Grimmark on guitar and Andreas Olsson on bass who both played five songs each on the album and Carl did many of the solos along with Roy Z. The band from Sweden also includes Andreas Johansson on drums and guitarist Daniel Hall.

I must admit I was shocked by how fresh your new album sounds! Not only in terms of production (we'll chat about this later) but the music itself! Killer tunes. I think it's your most Metal record during the last years!

My focus with Roy Z since we sat down and discussed this record was to first have an album full of great songs. Although this is always the goal for each album, we really focused on the two main elements of heaviness and melody for this particular group of songs, searching for a home somewhere between the Rage Of Creation and  Eyes Of Eternity albums. I think mixing with Jacob Hansen in Denmark was they key in presenting the songs and performances in all their power and glory.

Does the heaviness in the album's music relate to the lyrical themes? Really, is Holy Hell a concept album? I would suppose so from the cover and the track titles, but I'm not that sure.

It's not really a concept album but it's more like there's a thread of continuity that shines through the album musically and lyrically that I think was more sub-conscience than intentional.

Produced by the magic hands of Roy, how did things go with him during the recording sessions? Judging by the result you must be really happy about this cooperation! Still, were there any times of conflict for what to do in some case-specific?

Working with Roy Z is great and we are good friends for many years now so that makes it very easy to communicate and work well together. I am very happy to work with him. This album did not go as planned though. Due to Roy's commitments with Judas Priest, I had to come up with a new plan and mix with a guy I didn't know at the time - Jacob Hansen in Denmark. But Roy and I both agree that that decision turned out to be a great benefit for the album because Jacob did a great job and added a new and exciting element to the sound of our recordings.

Did Roy contribute any guitar parts?

Yes, Roy did about half of the rhythms and played many of the solos and solo parts through out the album. Carl Grimmark did the other half of the rhythms and solos and Bob Rossi and Ricky Renstrom contributed some solo parts in a few songs.

In cold blood, how would YOU judge Holy Hell in relation to your previous solo works?

Holy Hell is my best one so far. The songs are all great and the performances and mix are very intense. I'm very happy with the lyrics and artwork too, so I'm very satisfied.

What would you say about Holy Hell to someone who would swear that Eyes Of Eternity was his all-time favorite Rob Rock album?

I might say that you very well may have a new favorite Rob Rock album!

And to someone greatly disappointed by Eyes Of Eternity?

I might say that if you were greatly disappointed with any of my solo albums then you are in the major minority and I wonder what planet you are from! Hahaha!

Rob, what's the feedback you've received so far? You know, from both the Media and the fans. It seems that Holy Hell is among top releases in most music magazines - webzines.

The feedback has been incredible. The media has been very strong in support of the album with number one album of the month in Metal Heart and Top 4 in all the other top metal European magazines. I've got more email than ever from fans from all over the world that are just flipping out over the CD from the very first listen. Grown men are telling me they even sob over the ballad and no one can deny the heaviness and melody they discover in all of the songs. There's even comments on how well crafted the lyrics are. I'm really glad people are seeing it as I do because a lot of my life and heart went into this album and it wasn't easy to make.

AFM Records seem to do a great job in promoting your work. Do you feel satisfied enough from their support?

I think they have done well so far, but the verdict is still out at this point. I hope they will do a great job and that we will have a continuing fantastic business relationship.

I know you have a nasty \[Laughs] reputation in the Land of the Rising Sun all these years, also. Is Holy Hell released (or is it going to be released) in Japan too? Should we feel hatred again 'bout some bonus material over there?

Yes, your hatred is inevitable because they will get at least two bonus tracks this time and maybe even a couple of alternative mixes! I think the album will come out there before the summer is over but the release date is not set yet.

I see… Rob, how was the Flying Aces Tour? Did you have a good time on the road (again) with the other bands?


It was a very good tour. All the bands got along great and it was actually very pleasant dealing with All Access promotion. I hope to work with them again soon. We all made some new friends on this tour and everyone was very professional… amazing! And it wasn't boring either!

Still, not that many countries were listed for this tour? Are there any plans for an expansion at some other point in time? Really, what about summer festivals?

I think we hit eight different countries this time and the plan is to expand our reach every time we tour. We are doing Sweden Rock and Metalfest in Germany this summer so far with a few other ideas on the table.

Don't you feel tired sometimes with all this tour stuff? I'd assume you're more of a studio artist, but - unfortunately - haven't seen you performing live yet!

No, I haven't had my fill of touring yet. There are many fans that I'd like to meet on tour and many countries I'd still like to visit. There's nothing better than rockin' with the fans!

Out of curiosity: being the man behind the mic in so many Rock/Metal bands, why did it take you so long (in my opinion) to start your own solo career? I mean, you had gained remarkable experience years before you decided to start up with the Rage Of Creation album? Was it a matter of time or was it just that you didn't feel confident?

It was a matter of opportunity, I guess. I wanted to do a solo album for a year or two before I actually got started with JVC/Victor and I guess I needed a label's support to give me the confidence to step out on my own.

My good friend Roy Z has been there for me since the beginning and our writing chemistry has always been very strong since we met in 1989, so I am very grateful for that, and I'm very glad to create music with him.

Rob, you've been cooperating with many famous guitar players all over the world. I'd like to state just one phrase for each of them:

Tony MacAlipne (M.A.R.S./solo/session): VirtuosoChris Impellitteri (Impellitteri): Speed demonJoshua Perahia (Joshua): Melody manDennis Cameron (Angelica): SmoothAxel Rudi Pell (Steeler/solo): Classical/Blues mix metallerJoe Floyd (Warrior): Metal riff monsterRoy Z (nearly everywhere): Master craftsman

I was (positively) surprised to see you're offering so many vocal tips through your official website! I can't believe you're also following ALL these tips! Pretty pushy!

I'm only responding to emails that people send me. There are many requests and questions each week from the fans so I try hard to help them with the vocal tips each month. It's not easy to keep up with but many people have told me they really appreciate it so'I'll do it as long as I can' as a Thank You to the fans.

Rob, thanks a lot for your spare time! I sincerely hope all the best for Holy Hell and also hope to see you soon live!

Thank you!! I hope I can see many new places and faces with the festival dates and concert tours coming up in the near future. Thanks to the melodic Metal lovers for picking up Holy Hell!



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